Palace Preview & Özil: More Questions

Crystal Palace arrive at the Emirates, six months on from their season-ending win in April. That’s our season they ended, by the way.

It also ended Shkodran Mustafi’s Premier League career although the German looks like a man reborn in the ‘second string’. Natural level or just out of the firing line? Whichever it is, the sympathetic side of my nature thinks its a good thing for him.

He may be able to offer Mesut Özil some advice on his predicament. Not included in midweek nor (unsurprisingly) at Sheffield United, there is little chance of him being in the matchday squad.

His fall from grace is spectacular if nothing else. Indulged by Arsène, Emery holds no truck with the German’s lack of effort. What previously was described as ‘laconic’ is seen by the coach as perezoso.

Yesterday saw claims that LA Galaxy reportedly think replacing the crotch-grabbing Zlatan with Özil is a good idea. Knock yourself out, gentlemen.

What fee we’d get is a moot point; I wonder if we’re giving Özil enough rope to walk away on a free, citing sporting grounds to terminate his deal. Is it going to come to that?

Reading between the lines of Unai’s words, there is a concerted effort to force Özil out of the club. After a week when the Spaniard refused to talk about why the German isn’t selected -“I think it is not the moment to speak about him” – he said:

Here, we have one agreed strategy as a club and as a team. Because the most important thing is the club, the team and finding a performance. Previously we were all speaking between us to take that decision.

Unai holds the exit door open for Mesut

That’s fairly definitive in pointing to a club-wide decision.

One Man Banned

Why it has come to this is the question. Emery included Özil in pre-season and he did quite well. It wasn’t until the incident with Kolasinac that things went awry. The Bosnian recovered quickly and returned to the XI.

Özil returned to training, became ill, trained but was told it wasn’t hard enough. Others wanted it more, to paraphrase Emery. That coded message of ‘try harder’ was surely conveyed on the training pitches at Colney? Coach and player speak often enough to offer ample opportunity to see those words told to him in more expansive terms.

But those words aren’t getting through. Or if they are, they are being ignored. There’s speculation that he’s biding his time, waiting to outlast Emery. My guess is that unless things go completely off the rails on the pitch, that won’t happen before next summer and only then if we miserably fail to reach the top four.

Özil is within his rights to stay and see out his contract. However, he does so to the detriment of his carefully cultivated brand. Whatever else he may be, Özil is too astute to let damage occur to ‘MÖ8’.

From the club’s perspective, it’s throwing good money at bad. Moving Özil on is the top priority of the next two transfer windows. If he doesn’t get the message by Christmas, it’s time to be brutal and deliver the news he is finished at the club. This is a dark cloud hanging over a club where the acrimony of the previous manager’s departure still lingers.

It’s often said that fans are entitled for no good reason. When it affects the playing side of the club so obviously, that’s a good enough reason for us to be entitled to an explanation.

Eagles Nest

There is a match today and one we need to win. Monday night’s defeat is compounded by others’ results; a win today keeps us fifth with a two-point gap to fourth at best. It shows how quickly one bad defeat can impact your season.

We need to show a reaction to Bramall Line and preferably one which doesn’t bring us out in hives.

Three points is a must but equally as important is a good performance. Given the past few games, that is a tall order. I don’t expect many changes to enable that.

Given the back four which started on Thursday, an unchanged one from Sheffield is likely to start. In all honesty, Hector looks short of match fitness while only Kieran Tierney really has a chance of playing today. Emery isn’t going to drop Sideshow Bob or Sokratis.

That said, one change I do expect is Ceballos in for Willock. Every young player has spells in their learning phase where they plateau, where things don’t work. A rest today, a match on Wednesday takes him out of the spotlight and just to work things through.

Lacazette with Pepe and Aubameyang is tough on Saka but a couple of good performances from the former and the latter’s goalscoring record make them undroppable.

Which leaves the line-up:

Leno; Chambers, Luiz, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang

In three weeks time, we could be sitting third, into the last eight of the Carabao Cup and knockout phase of the Europa League. However, we could equally be crying into our beer.

The least we can do is give ourselves a fighting chance of that happening by winning today.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

149 thoughts on “Palace Preview & Özil: More Questions

  1. Michael says:

    Boom

    Not confident today, which is hardly a surprise.

  2. Spike says:

    The Palace game last season was the start of me losing faith in the manager… he threw our season away in the vain hope of putting everything into the Europa final. And that game probably was where Emery decided Ozil was finished too?

    I dont even have faith in our chances today, thanks to our deluded out of his depth head coach.

    My realistic line up today would be…

    Leno
    Chambers Luiz Holding Tierney
    Guendouzi Torreira
    Pepe Ceballos Saka
    Auba

  3. Spike says:

    As someone commented yesterday…

    It is baffling that Emery wanted to sign Fabinho, yet persists with Xhaka??? AMN, Chambers, Luiz could all do a better job than the Swiss Miss(take)!! 😀

  4. Malaysian gunner says:

    Xaka is an accident waiting to happen. As for Fabinho,Emery was probably over ruled .
    There are no easy games in the epl.If Arsenal play Wenger style,they will be vulnerable to the sucker punch. I just saw Burnley hit long range goals against Chelsea something Arsenal shd do instead of passing all the time.

  5. Colts says:

    Spike,

    I heard Mr borrowed time wanted to sign nzonzi over the baby terrier. He should of insisted.

  6. Spike says:

    Colts,

    If that’s the case, then he is clearly not playing Torreira out of sheer stubbornness and spite, regardless of the impact on performances and results.

  7. Bill says:

    Thanks for the preview Yogi

    It sounds like this is not just Emery’s decision to drop Ozil. Obviously a manager who wants to keep his job is not going to drop a $20M/year incredibly high profile player without the agreement of upper management and ownership. I think we can safely rule out the idea that this is just Emery being stubborn or vindictive. Raul, Edu and Josh Kronke’s must agree with this course of action and I assume they all want to finish in the top 4 and do what is best for the club. This is a PR disaster and a huge financial hit to the club and I think we can assume they wouldn’t be doing this without a good reason.

  8. Wailesy says:

    I think we can get the result at home but I’m not expecting a good performance. If we’re to make top 4 though we are going to have to start producing some and pretty quickly. Maybe Özil is the key to that. I’m far from sold on Ceballos. COYG

  9. Jonnygunner says:

    Alright today fellas.
    Well done Wales…but the SAFA’s are double ‘ard bastards and were too strong in the end.
    Back to footy-if we lose today,and that’s more than quite likely,then by the end of November I genuinely think it’s bye bye to Unai.

  10. Ferkov says:

    Terrier not the right shape for Unai. Legs aren’t long enough.
    Or body.
    Great as he is ,at scurrying ,ankle biting ,and interceptions, he does get shrugged off the ball quite easily. If ref doesn’t give foul, it’s put us in shit .
    Unai appears to prefer the enforcer Xhaka.
    He doesn’t do what Terrier does, and can’t shield the ball either. And gives pointless fouls away.
    Why not Chambers or AMN? Maybe when Bellers is fit we’ll see Chambers there. But Ainsley has looked confused this season.

  11. Spike says:

    Ferkov,

    Most of the players look confused this season! Something to do with the garbled messages emanating from Emery HQ!

  12. C says:

    Emery, stated that Torriera will play against Palace and then went on to say:

    “I think he is very important for us. We are sharing and changing some matches with the midfielders like Guendouzi.

    “I am very happy with him and we need him. Then we use different structures in different matches and he has confidence. I was speaking with him about his best position to help us in our shape.

    “It depends on the shape. Last season his best position was playing as a deep midfield two alongside Xhaka or Matteo.

    “This year we are playing also sometimes with just one and he can achieve with his quality to get to the box and get closer to score. He is very intelligent about getting space around the box and taking chances.

    “Then also, when we prepare the team to do high pressing, for us he is very important because he is very intelligent tactically, but he can play in the two positions. [Either as] one of the two midfielders [or] he can play higher for the pressing and to get into the box.

    “Sometimes we also use him as a one-man in midfield doing the covering for the two other players ahead.”

  13. Noon Gunner says:

    C,

    That’s actually quite a fair reflection of how Torreira has been used thus far this season. Amazing to hear there is some ‘philosophy’ behind it!

  14. Bill says:

    idea that Emery is confusing the players seems hard to accept. He had been a manager for almost 20 years and suggest that he does not understand how to coach a football team seems unreasonable. At least part of the problem has to be with the players

  15. Bill says:

    Emery can say whatever he wants about Torreira but it means nothing if he does not use him regularly. He certainly does not rate Torriera as a deepest defensive mid. I understand why a lot of us don’t like Xhaka and I agree with that sentiment. However, there is no evidence to date which suggests Torriera would be a solid DM.

  16. C says:

    Noon Gunner,

    True and I think it speaks to why Xhaka continues to start. Emery doesn’t want the deepest midfielder to be a DM, but instead a deeplying playmaker with 2 do it all midfielders in front of him. The thing is, that is the role that Torriera actually played at Sampdoria when they took preesed anybody and everybody in Serie A with their high pressing style.

    Personally, I would rather see Torriera at the base with Guendouzi and Ceballos playing infront of him.

  17. Bill says:

    C

    I would still be interested in your theory regarding why Emery and the clubs upper management has decided to drop Ozil. Surely you have a theory, what do you think?

  18. C says:

    Bill,

    To be honest, I don’t. If it was down to his play, then why does Xhaka, Sokaritis and Luiz continue to get selected? The other thing that doesn’t maoe any sense is why everything seemed good until the incident with he and Sead and since then Ozil hasn’t been welcomed back the same way as Sead but then Emery goes and makes him one of his 5 Captains. The situation as a whole isn’t clear but we are a side with good to great attacking talent in the strikers and wingers positions but thus far have lacked creativity in feeding them.

    Why not drop Xhaka and give Ozil a go, if it goes poorly then Emery can say, ‘See I told you all’ but if it goes well then Emery can sat, ‘See I benched him to help motivate him for the good of the club.’

  19. C says:

    Team news is in:

    Leno
    Chambers—-Sokaritis—Luiz—-Tierney
    Xhaka—Guendouzi
    Pepe—-Ceballos—-Aubameyang
    Lacazette

    Subs: martinez, Bellerin, Holding, Sead, Torriera, Saka, Gabriel

  20. C says:

    Or it will probably look like

    Leno
    Chambers—Sokaritis–Luiz—Tierney
    —————Xhaka
    Ceballos—Guendouzi
    Pepe—-Lacazette—-Aubameyang

  21. YW says:

    C,

    Pleased he bit the bullet with Tierney.

    Of the two formations, it’s the latter: 4-1-2-3. Auba and Pepe are too deep in 4-2-3-1

  22. Bill says:

    C

    I think ozil has done or said something to Emery or our upper management that has put him in the dog house. It must be a pretty significant transgression. That said, Ultimately it is down to his play. A manager and management is usually willing to forgive almost anything if they thought the player in question could potentially be someone who could make a difference and give us a better chance to finish 4th.

  23. C says:

    YW,

    Glad he did with both Tierney and finally that front 3. Hopefully Ceballos will be able to create but we all know Tierney loves whipping in crosses. Shame Sokaritis and Xhaka start but so be it.

    I’m thinking the latter too.

    I think it will

  24. C says:

    Bill,

    The problem with that, is when did this transgression happen? Again, prior to Ozil and Sead being attacked, everything pointed to Ozil being a key cog and then after that, nothing. Your point is understood but then again you continue to see Xhaka, Sokaritis and Luiz selected….all 3 literally are the reason that we lost matches and drew matches. More so, why make Ozil one of your 5 captains?

  25. Bill says:

    C

    Perhaps the car jacking made him realize that at this point in his career football doesn’t really matter anymore. May be he has told management he will show up for training so he can get his pay checks but he does not really care about the teams results or about playing.

  26. Bill says:

    Life is too short to be beating yourself up at work when you don’t really like what you are doing. The honorable thing to do would be retire but how many of us would voluntarily give up a huge paycheck?

    I Honestly don’t really blame anyone who puts family and lifestyle ahead of work and if he does not want to leave London and shows up when his contract requires him there is nothing the club can do about it.

  27. Colts says:

    Spike,

    Indeed, I think it’s inevitable for coaches to lean towards their favorites.

  28. C says:

    Sokaritis!!!!!! With a strikers finish!

  29. C says:

    Luiz!!!!!!

    That is a dangerous ball put in my Pepe and a good finish!!!!

    Who would of thought, defenders who struggle to defend but can score goals like poachers! That is a deft little flick from Lacazette too.

  30. Colts says:

    Who needs strikers lol
    Pepe again with set piece quality

  31. C says:

    MY OH MY can Tierney whip in a cross even when it looks like he has no space to whip it in

  32. C says:

    Spike,

    Yup and his delivery into the box seems to always be in dangerous positions.

  33. Spike says:

    C,

    It was incredible how much shit he was getting.

  34. C says:

    Spike,

    Yea, shame though because everybody always talks about how it does take some time to her use to the pace of the PL.

  35. Colts says:

    Amazing ball from Gwen, bammys first touch not the best, perhaps he’s feeling the effects of his strong start without having laca taking up the slacka.

  36. consolsbob says:

    Bill,

    You know, Bill, for a no nonsense person your views on Ozil taking money for no honest return are just ornery.

  37. C says:

    Chambers left his leg in there, I wouldn’t be surprised if that is a penalty….

  38. Bill says:

    Cbob

    Obviously something is happening behind the scenes that we don’t know about. Just speculation regarding one possibility

  39. C says:

    Ceballos is poppong up everywhere.

    Arsenal, send Madrid money and tell them its to help fund Mbappe.

  40. Spike says:

    C,

    Mike Riley and his secret cult are just using VAR for their own perverted pleasure!

  41. Noon Gunner says:

    Chambers is good value for a right back.

    Have we managed a single attack through the middle yet?

  42. consolsbob says:

    Bill,

    I Was targeting your view that is reasonable for him to continue drawing his salary if he can’t be bothered to work at the game. Speculation that maybe, if correct, there are other choices other than just taking the mickey such as decency, pride and, yes, even in 2019, honour. Or maybe just a sense of shame. He is a multi millionaire to boot.

  43. C says:

    Pepe, barely outside the post on his weaker foot. That boy is strong though.

  44. C says:

    Good save from Leno especially pushing it that wide.

  45. Spike says:

    Spike,

    VAR is being used so appallingly it does ask further questions of the PGMO… why weren’t we given a pen the other night while ManU getting as many as they want at Norwich? For the flimsiest of reasons.

  46. consolsbob says:

    The FA and footballing Establishment have always done everything in their power, sometimes beyond, to assist manu.

    That has never changed. VAR is not an impartial medium. It can be manipulated as much as any other system of game governance if that governance is unfair, partial, incompetent or just plain biased .

  47. Noon Gunner says:

    Damn! That was a perfect opportunity for Xhaka to get his 5th yellow and miss Wolves, but Chambers cops it.

  48. Spike says:

    consolsbob,

    Just like how Riley runs the PGMO, VAR is being operated so secretively and selectively.

    Oh fuck off Emery!

  49. Woolwich Freddie says:

    You could see the heads going down and players giving up. Why at 2-1 up? So you lost the ball – get it back! Atkinson was losing contract a bit but surely we expect that – how many years has it been?

  50. C says:

    That is poor from Xhaka putting no pressure on the crosser.

  51. C says:

    WTF!!!!! This ref is having a shocking 2nd

  52. Spike says:

    Colts,

    He could be sacked by this time next week at this rate!

  53. C says:

    Saka is set to come on, but why and who for?

  54. Woolwich Freddie says:

    That’s one to many lazy passes from Luiz for me. It wouldn’t upset me if he wasn’t capable of much better in that area.

  55. Andy1886 says:

    Xhaka booed by his own fans apparently, not a happy bunny.

  56. C says:

    Xhaka having a go at the fans, goes down the tunnel and takes off his shirt.

  57. Woolwich Freddie says:

    As far as I’m concerned, Xhaka should never play for Arsenal again. I mean I was already there on playing grounds…

  58. C says:

    Andy1886,

    They cheered but then he had a go at the supporters and the moment he reached the touchline, off went thr shirt and steaight down the tunnel he went.

  59. Noon Gunner says:

    C,

    And our captain has lost his audience. Not a graceful exit.

  60. C says:

    Ceballos is tackling, passing, driving us right now.

  61. Spike says:

    Woolwich Freddie,

    Yep, same here!
    Hes hopefully fucked himself in terms of being picked again. Then again Emery loves him so…

  62. Las says:

    Pifff Emery… you don’t know what you’re doing!

  63. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Having had to reverse one, Atkinson determined to let Zaha off every other yellow for the rest of the game.

  64. Las says:

    Somebody please call a cab for Emery+Xhaka

  65. C says:

    Noon Gunner,

    Yup. I get not wanting to be subbed off and I get the supporters cheering you being subbed, but when you then have a go and take off the shirt instead of heading to a seat…..not many supporters will stand by the clun captain. Especially when you watch Guendouzi and Ceballos hustling and bustling with skill and technique.

  66. andy1886 says:

    C,

    I think they cheered the fact that he was coming off which he wasn’t happy with. The sort of thing that can end careers at a club but with Emery picking the side he’ll probably be back in next time around.

  67. C says:

    andy1886,

    Completely agree. Big decision coming from Emery especially with everybody already calling for Torriera to replace him prior to this plus the way that Emery has handled Ozil.

  68. Spike says:

    C,

    Emery has made a rod for his own back. Making Xhaka captain was a ridiculous call and now he will be judged again on how he handles this one.

    For me, Xhaka should join Ozil in the wilderness, but well see!

  69. C says:

    Its virtually impossible for Zaha to get a yellow haha

  70. Woolwich Freddie says:

    And again Luiz… wake up!

  71. C says:

    Spike,

    We shall see what happens next for sure. Until then, the boys need to go get a 3rd and get all 3 points.

  72. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Papa on a hatrick? Strange.

  73. C says:

    Pepe put that ball into ANOTHER DANGEROUS position and Sokaritis buries it!!!!!!!

    If he didn’t, then it was a stone called penalty.

    How fucking good has Pepe’s corners been today?!

  74. C says:

    No goal!

    By then why not a penalty?!?!? VAR and Atkinson cocked that one up MASSIVELY!!!!

  75. consolsbob says:

    So, all fans of VAR, is the game better for it?

  76. C says:

    Atkinson and VAR HAVE ABSOLUTELY RUINED THIS MATCH.

  77. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Bad decision for the goal, then Atkinson falls for Townsend playing himself into a corner and falling over with no contact and it’s not the first time.

  78. C says:

    Spike,

    If they are calling the foul on Chambers, I guess they ignored the 3 Palace players pulling and pushing him before his foul…..fucking joke absolute fucking joke the refs, the VAR officials and Atkinson is.

  79. C says:

    Lacazette gets ABSOLUTELY TACKLED by 3 Palace players and its a foul on him……fucking joke

  80. Spike says:

    C,

    It’s an absolute travesty. It’s like they are tak7ng the piss and making as many ridiculous decisions as they can!

  81. C says:

    How and why do English refs not use the monitor that is clearly on the touchline for them to use to make the decision themselves. Bunch of fucking cowards, the whole lot of them.

  82. Woolwich Freddie says:

    You can blame VAR if you want but the issue is the quality of the officials, as it has been for decades. And the quality of our defense, as it has been for about a decade.

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